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Your Views: Preparedness fair successful in teaching kids disaster readiness

POSTED: October 3, 2013 1:00 a.m.

National Preparedness Month in September ended with Gainesville-Hall County, in collaboration with Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, holding the first annual Personal and Family Preparedness Fair in our community. The fair was an important first step for kids to learn about first-responder resources that support our region during a disaster.

Equally important was for them to learn how they can take steps toward personal preparedness when a disaster is overwhelming, and public safety resources cannot respond immediately. More than 500 kids and their parents left with knowledge that helps in building a resilient Hall County community.

Few communities across our nation have a coalition of public safety executives that meet monthly to collaborate on how they can respond as a unified command during a disaster. The Hall County Public Safety Executives Committee is made up of police and fire chiefs and security heads from Gainesville, Hall County, Buford, Oakwood, Braselton, Georgia State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources, North Georgia Health Systems, Brenau University and the University of North Georgia for this purpose.

INK is a unique education venue in the private sector that touches the lives of many people who are willing to volunteer their time and resources. It was a logical place in size, location and attraction to reach the younger segment of our population.

The partnership of INK and public safety executives led to a joint Gainesville-Hall County government proclamation that was a statement for disaster planning awareness in the region.

We are thankful to have had the assistance of the Disaster Group, a disaster fair planning organization, produce the event. Their mobile communications unit was on display with public safety equipment, all thanks to the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Georgia Mountains Region Commission, ARES Ham Operators, Time to Prepare Academy, Thrive to Survive and the Humane Society.

Bill Wittel


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